Teens reveal creative abilities
Southland teens have shown their creative side through a project aimed at empowering young Maori artists.
Children's Art Experience! gallery founder Spring Ursula Thomas has spent almost a month working with Aurora College pupils as part of the Matariki project.
"It's been a full-on three weeks," she said.
Ten senior pupils and 10 junior pupils took part in the venture, which was supported by Te Korowai Hou Ora Maori Mental Health.
The result is a public exhibition at Children's Art Experience! gallery – a mix of cultural and contemporary art which blends modern design and traditional Maori elements.
Ms Thomas said there was a variety of work on display, ranging from photographs documenting Maori life to mixed-media paintings.
The traditional elements included in the project were not only visual motifs but also the `manaki' style of learning adopted by the group, where older pupils learned skills then taught them to younger pupils.
`Respecting your elders is intrinsic to the process, as well as naturally caring for those younger than yourself," she said.
The project was also about providing future pathways for the teens. Ms Thomas said art study could entice pupils to stay in school, and she used professional Maori artists as examples of what they could aspire to.
"Art is a viable way to, you know, have a career. It's really important to empower Maori students at this time in Invercargill and all of Southland."
She believed the city's tertiary art courses were a great resource and the next step for some of the pupils involved in the exhibition. One such pupil was Maanu Koroheke-Edwards, of Te Atihaua nui a Paparangi (Whanganui River) iwi, whose digital photography was "wonderful".
She said all the pupils had created some amazing work.
- © Fairfax NZ News